Italian Gaia Tormena and Jeroen van Eck of the Netherlands were back in dominating forms in the Women Elite and Men Elite competitions at the second leg of the 2020 UCI Mountain Bike Eliminator World Cup in Barcelona.
Reduced from seven scheduled rounds to two due to the coronavirus pandemic, championships nevertheless delivered an exciting final in Barcelona, Spain.
The duo were Round 1 winners in Waregem, Belgium, in September, and were back in the starting blocks in Barcelona brushing aside their respective rivals.
After dominating the 2019 season, 2020 European Champion Gaia Tormena won the first World Cup round but missed out on her second rainbow jersey at the UCI Mountain Bike Eliminator World Championships in Leuven, Belgium, three weeks ago, She lost out on a photo finish in the final to France’s Isaure Medde the winner.
Tormena was out for revenge in Barcelona and took it in style. Fastest in the qualifying time trials, she eased through the semi-finals to secure her place in the finals, where she soloed to the win ahead of Marion Fromberger of Germany, and two Spanish athletes Sara Gay Moreno and Sara Mendez Belanga.
“I couldn’t be happier after narrowly missing out on the rainbow jersey in Leuven last month,” said the 18-year-old Italian after her clean sweep of the World Cup rounds.
“I only had a few days off the bike after the UCI World Championships to restart training for Barcelona. I believe it’s time for some rest now, but I can’t wait to be back next year!”
In the men’s competition, the van Eck also made it two out of two in this year’s World Cup.
After qualifying through the early rounds in Barcelona, nothing was going to stop the Dutch rider in the four-up final. Van Eck quickly took the lead and kept his position throughout the race to claim his second victory of the season. Fastest qualifier Lorenzo Serres of France finished second in a sprint against Germany’s Simon Gegenheimer. Surprise fourth place went to four-time mountain bike downhill World Champion (2015, 2017, 2018, 2019) Loïc Bruni of France.
Van Eck was delighted to finish the season on a high note: “After a disappointing World Championships last month (9th) I started focusing on Barcelona as my next goal. I’m happy to finish off the season with another victory,” he said.
Meanwhile four-time and reigning World Champion Titouan Perrin-Ganier of France had to make do with fifth place: he won the small final after being forced to pull out of the semi-finals due to a mechanical failure.